ZAMBIA and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have signed a bilateral agreement to enhance trade between the two countries.
The agreement will address unfair trade practices, measures to curb smuggling and facilitation of exchange of information between border authorities in the two countries.
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe said under the agreement, the two countries will establish common border infrastructure such as banks and trade centres.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Lusaka yesterday, Mrs Mwanakatwe said the bilateral trade agreement also provides for duty-free importation between the two countries.
“The agreement we are about to sign today [yesterday] offers great scope and opportunity for both the DRC and Zambia to maximise production in value-added products.
“It is indeed a historic moment for us to have reached this stage after having engaged in these negotiations over the past years and initialling the document in 2011,” she said.
Mrs Mwanakatwe said the agreement requires Zambia and DRC to take measures necessary for the protection of national security interests, the environment, public health and public morals among others.
The minister further said trade is among the most effective avenues that can bring about tangible results to the economies of the two countries and citizens.
Mrs Mwanakatwe urged the business community to take advantage of the opportunities in both countries and contribute to economic transformation of Zambia and the DRC to emerge as industrial powers in the region.
DRC Minister of Commerce Nefertiti Ngudianza Kisula said the two countries should use their comparative advantage to boost trade.
Ms Kisula said DRC is committed to promoting trade in Africa, and especially with its neighbouring countries.